Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Little On Life

Well it's been far too long since I was last here - again! I am suffering terribly from painters block, and while I have two projects on the go that MUST be finished by Christmas, I just can't seem to get going. There are several reasons for this, they include sick children, the time of year and even discovering the games on Facebook. I could (and have) blamed these factors among others - even my three yr old has told me to "just get on with it mum".
Now ordinarily I have a couple of wee tricks up my sleeve to deal with the afore mentioned "block". I have in the past tacked a large piece of plywood to my lounge room wall, amped up the sounds and literally thrown paint - incredibly therapeutic (not to mention messy) I've tried turning paintings upside down(an old fav of many) Sometimes pulling out a lump of clay, or playing with some of the kids craft stash can trigger a new painting.......the list goes on......but for the last couple of months - nothing but half finished canvases.
I'm lost, frustrated and stressed!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've been tagged!

Well actually I was tagged weeks ago but I've been slack with my blog lately and well this afternoon to fight a massive bout of painters block I thought what better way to take my mind off my inability to paint.
I was tagged by fellow artist Chavah Kinloch, check out her fab blog -

the rules are simple, now I've been tagged I have to list 6 things you don't know about me, so here goes -

  1. I hope one day to own a lifestyle block and become semi self sufficient - kind of a "Good Life" thing going on.
  2. I am terrified of water I can't see the bottom of - I once went snorkeling to try and overcome the feeling(it was my partner at the times idea) and although I would recommend the experience to everyone - I can't believe how stunningly beautiful it is under water, you'll never catch me doing it again! Before I was frightened because I didnt know whats down there, now I'm scared because I do know - fish people, big freakin fish - lots of them!
  3. I have a growing collection of hats - I love em. In fact a girl at my daughters school commented the other day that it was the first time she'd ever seen me without a hat, I've known this child for rather a long time.
  4. I have dyed my hair every colour but green - my all time favourite was described by an elderly woman in a craft shop as heliotrope.
  5. I like playing with playdough - I find it very therapeutic.
  6. My first car was a very very old Honda Civic called Geraldine - I didnt name her she came to me with a sticker on her gear shift that had her name on it. I miss that car it had a dent in every panel and didnt like to go in the rain - but she was cool and it was a sad sad day when I traded her in.

Now I'm tagging these fantastic NZ artists -

Cath Sheard -

Sharlene Schmidt -

Mark Godwin -

Ronda Turk -

Christine Dempster -

Shelly Van Soest -

The rules:

1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.3. Write six random things about yourself.

4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.

5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Portrait - Little Green Thumb (work in progress)

So here is my latest work in progress, a portrait of my youngest daughter helping to build a garden at her preschool. As usual I am working in acrylic on canvas. I have just started using a new brand of canvas, it's slightly more expensive than my usual - but well worth it as far as I'm concerned. As you can see I've mostly blocked in the basics, I'm now working on the folds in the sweatshirt and shorts - which are probably the most difficult aspects of this piece. I'm also experimenting with how many layers I can use on the background in the "crackled look" that I've been working on, before I lose the base colours. I'm up to three and I'm thinking that four may be too many....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Treasure" - acrylic portrait on canvas

So after a rather lovely weekend camping I thought I'd best get back into the swing of things and show you all what I've been up to.......and here it is. The painting is based on the sketch I posted earlier of my daughter. It captures her serious, thoughtful side well and although I'd still like to tweak it here and there I am rather happy with the outcome.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Handmade Decorations for Starship Hospital

These are my take on the Christmas bell - I made them for a fundraising initiative of the NZ Art Guild for Starship Hospital in Auckland. They were a challenge in that I usually work with paint. However as I moved through the process of designing and constructing them I found myself enjoying the change. It was a chance for me to broaden my skills and remember long forgotten ones. There are four of each colour. Sadly photos don't do them justice but the general idea is there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Summer Landscape

Just finished this piece is acrylic on boxed canvas and depicts a semi-fictitious landscape. Now there will be farmers out there pulling their hair out at what I'm about to say but here goes anyway........I love the colours of summer!(not the heat but definitely the colours) When the land takes on the parched golden tones there is something awe inspiring about it. The afore mentioned farmers will obviously find nothing attractive about drought season - and this I can totally understand, this is their livelyhood we are talking about, however it does give the landscape a certain rich glow one which I am intent about capturing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Portrait of my girl - pencil sketch

So as you may well know I've been rather busy lately - too busy in fact to paint. I have however been able to take time to revisit the humble pencil. The above pic is a sketch I just completed of my daughter - I worked from a photo taken a couple of years ago which I always thought would make for a great painting, I'm rather happy with the results. It did take a couple of false starts but once I started I remembered just how much I enjoy the simplicity of a pencil! No major cleanup, no major set up - rather fantastic concept really. It lead me to thinking about my world series and how I've been putting it off for bigger canvases when in reality perhaps all I needed was a different approach. I shall think further on this - and in the meantime shall definitely explore drawing further.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mitre Peak - work in progress

So this what I've been up to - a rather time consuming piece I must say! The image is a simple one but the paint effect in the sky and lake consist of many layers built up using a very fine brush. It's acylic on boxed canvas and still needing refinement. I plan to sharpen the lines and glaze over parts of the mountain and it's reflection.
I also went to Athol this week and hung a couple of my smaller pieces - Fields of Gold and Nathalias World.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rich landscapes of Southland NZ

"Fields of Gold" acrylic on canvas. Based on the landscapes around northern southland, nz. I think I may be over winter (which is odd because it's actually my favourite season) but it seems that I'm coveting blue skies and golden fields - it's been a recurring theme lately in my work. I attempted a seascape the other night but just had to walk away, it really really wasnt working! So I did this instead - as usual I shall stare at it for awhile and if nothing needs changing I shall sign and varnish it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My new series of NZ Landscapes

I enjoyed painting Central Gold so much that I've moved into a whole series based around the NZ landscapes. This piece "Shifting Sands" is still unfinished but I think showing some promise. I need to integrate the lake into the picture, as it stands it looks out of place. I'm enjoying the freedom of this style, I need to refine the technique more but I'm definitely enjoying the process. The landscapes of New Zealand affect people in so many ways, I enjoy listening to locals talk about the scenery that surrounds them and taking away with me the way they feel and trying to put it out on canvas. When I hear people discussing Central Otago for instance their words are injected with pride and a sense of history. The often rugged coastlines evoke feelings of freedom. For me I love to capture these feelings on canvas as often they are a mirror image of emotions I have in other facets of my life.
It's a more than pleasant way to bide my time until I can continue with my World series.

Back into painting

So it's been awhile since I've posted anything, I've got a good excuse though. My Mums been down visiting, I hadn't seen her for three years. So of course painting took a back seat this last couple of weeks. She's just left for the airport and yes I blubbed like a baby! I'm guessing that I'll be homesick again for awhile. It'll be interesting to see how that affects my work. The lesson I learnt this week was definitely that you're never to old to miss your mum!
It's been an emotional few weeks - we had to have one of our cats put to sleep because she was poisoned, that was a learning curve I wish my girls didnt have to experience. A serious amount of pride as I will soon have work exhibiting in the "Gift of Art" gallery in Christchurch(more on that later it deserves a whole post of it's own) Then the joy of seeing mum and the sadness as she left - I'm figuring that will linger for awhile.
Anyway must away to paint before the school run this avy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Central Gold - the finished article

So heres the finished piece - Central Gold, acrylic on canvas. I tweaked it here and there and I'm pretty happy with it now, hopefully this piece will be winging its way to Christchurch in the not so distant future. I've decided I'd like to explore this style of painting further - see how well it relates to other landscapes and perhaps even figures. Unfortunately in this pic you cant see the extent of the textured effect I've given the lowlights within the hills - but it is there, similar to how I worked on Accessorise, but with a couple more layers, in some ways more subtle while still allowing several colours to show at once.
I've hit a slow patch with the world series - I can't get past one idea I have which will use one very large canvas, and unfortunately that is really not possible right now. I have been sketching additional ideas but the pile of screwed up paper is getting bigger and bigger - it's definitely a walk away moment!
I also desperately need to start work on a charity project for the starship hospital. I have agreed to make some decorations but once again that wall has popped up. I had a great vision - the reality of the construction was a little out of my league though so I'm back to the drawing board. I really want to have something original going on but as I'm more used to working with paint than other mediums it's becoming a real challenge - fun in it's own way but I'm running out of time, projects are starting to stack up and well it's starting to feel a little like work.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Central Gold - acrylic on boxed canvas

So heres a piece I recently began working on. It's inspired by the rugged strength of the central otago landscape. Its funny when I first moved to Cromwell I actually found the hills quite claustraphobic, they were so large and imposing. They didnt feel welcoming after the more rolling green hills of Kaukapakapa where I had come from. After 2yrs I found their impressive strong qualities to be warm and comforting. I began to actually see the changes with the seasons, appreciating the purple thyme and golden hue on sunset. Now, well I'm in love! There is so much history embedded within the mountains. Definitely a subject matter I shall return to when I need a lift. Definitely food for the soul.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008


So heres the second piece - once again simple imaging, in acrylics. This one incorporates the quote "the world is awesome" kindly given to me by Nathalia 6yrs. I have now titled the series "A Childs Eye View" although I have some concerns surrounding the upper age of some of the participants - 15 and older. I'm just not sure they'll be happy with the "child" label , I mean some of them are in paid fulltime work - not really kids anymore. Anyway this was quite a fun piece fairly challenging in its own way - how to define "awesome", I looked closely at my own children who are roughly the same age and well - fun equals awesome in their book. I went for a simple image with a limited palette trying to leave interpretation predominantly in the viewers court, sometimes I feel heavily detailed pieces can leave little to the imagination and lets face it one of the defining features of childrens views is their imagination. I am constantly trying to free mine back to the days of childhood, when I wasnt as jaded. Before I knew too much and just let my feelings free.

This series is definitely challenging me as an artist and as a mother to look closely within - to all I've forgotton and all I shut myself off from as an adult. Still enjoying myself which has to be a good thing - and learning also surely a good thing. I firmly believe that when we cease to learn we cease to live.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


So heres the first piece in my new series based on the viewpoints of children. It's possibly a work in progress but so far I think I'm happy with it. I'll look to expand on the series over the next week or so but with sick kids (still) and a need to go out and get more suitably sized canvas.....yeah so we'll see how it goes. I have so many ideas rumbling around that I've taken to carrying a pad and pencil with me - to the point of having it next to my bed at night. So many times I've thought of something, loved it, gone to paint it and yup you guessed it - lost it completely. Anyway just thought I'd get this up there - see what you think.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Afternoon - so stayed up way past my bedtime, ran the risk of turning into a pumpkin but it was well worth it. I'm well underway with this latest series (or at least the first piece!) Thanks to some very supportive folk at the nz art guild and my friends and family I'm gathering a lot of relevant information. The diversity of reactions to my requests are astounding, and quite surprising too. I think the biggest challenge lies in doing the quotes justice without coming off as steriotypical or trite. The positive attitude displayed by the majority of teenagers I think is the most surprising - although I'm starting to wonder if in some ways this is a front. Immediately on writing that it has occurred to me that - of course it is, I just dont know how to get past that. I'm thinking I need an additional approach. It is also difficult to gage interpretation when I'm being handed reactions second hand in some instances (obviously I am incredibly grateful for these as my sphere of acquaintances is limited)It comes down, I guess, to building a level of trust - which is hard under any circumstance let alone these ones. It's also difficult in that I'm not giving much away as I don't want to influence the reactions to my request, I just want initial first reactions.
Oh yeah and it's snowing :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trying to paint

Morning all - as I said I'm trying to paint I have a whole pile of stuff trying to come out but it's just hard to focus on where to start (so I'm posting this instead) I've had sick kids who thankfully are perking up today, but it's very draining! So the dilemma I'm having is really about the form that my new project will take, it involves a rapidly growing number of quotes and so the debate rages inside me - do I make one enormous piece (which will definitely have wow power and keep viewers engaged)or should I have many smaller pieces (more possibilities for hanging, more chance to play and let ideas seperate and then join for the overall effect)It's a hard one. So is it really a dilemma or am I just procrastinating, which can be a tendancy of mine as has been proven in the past.
Besides all that as any other mother out there will know - when children have been ill, the demands grow (and rightly so noone wants to be crook!)And so you ask yourself why are you wasting time writing blogs when they're obviously occupying themselves now? The answer to that is easy - my kids are prolific painters, and completely interested in the whole process of creating and with just one little whiff of a painting in progress the questions begin. Now ordinarily I'm happy to chat away while I paint but today as I mentioned before, I'm drained and when I start to paint I don't think this morning is time for interuptions.
Well this isnt getting a darn thing done so I shall away to do........something. Something tells me it wont be painting not just yet anyway!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Acrylic painting titled "Accessorise"

Hey so heres a piece I entered in a nz art guild theme challenge - Accessorise, acrylic on canvas
The theme was "fashion" so I tried to think about the origins of some of todays jewellry.
This piece was voted "most creative use of theme" It was my first attempt at a challenge and well I think I may just have to enter another one (or two......)they really flex the creative juices!

A Big Day

Well - hi all, todays a big day my first post on my brandnew blog! So what've I been up to - lots! I'm working on a new piece, really just in it's infancy at this stage but I'm pretty excited about it. I'm trying to explore the process of growing up. Yeah I know some of us never do but when you think about it - when is it too early to grow up? Are our children losing their innocence too early? Should children be exposed to the negative sides of our world today(poverty, violence etc)? Does an early awareness lead to adults who care or cynical adults?........the questions are endless. I'll keep you posted as I travel this path to understanding - or possibly more confusion.